Thursday, February 25, 2010

Weeknight Meals and wedding food

Baked Ziti- Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food

True to the title, very easy to put together, and on the table in about 40 minutes. I used rotini instead. This has smokey TVP which gives it a great flavour.

Sloppy joes- Skinny Bitch in the Kitch
Another easy meal with TVP. On the table in about 30 minutes. I served these on whole wheat Kaiser rolls, with a side of chips and veggies.

A commentor asked for a picture of our wedding cupcakes. I baked about 150 chocolate cupcakes from VCTOTW and a good friend made the buttercream icing. I started baking about a month before the wedding (they freeze beautifully). We then had an icing party a couple of days before the wedding. You can't beat good friends. These were topped with a blue or brown chocolate candy. (Blue and brown were our colours). Our friend also made a vegan cake for us to cut into and serve to the head table. It was chocolate cinnamon with buttercream.

I didn't think to take pictures of the meal, but we went with a buffet and the hotel made lots of great vegan options like a pasta bake, rosemary potatoes, steamed veggies, rolls, salad, etc. So good and I was very pleased with the result.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A good night

My 25th birthday party was last night. Yes, I threw a party for myself :P But really, I do it for an excuse to go all out and cook up a storm for my friends and family! Here we go...

Spinach Dip from 125 Best Vegan Recipes
I make this dip whenever I'm hosting an event, it is a crowd pleaser and never lasts long. As a life long spinach dip lover, you can't even tell it's vegan! Served in a pumpernickel bowl along with sourdough.

Citrus glitters and Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles from VCIYCJ
The citrus glitters are delicious...I used lemon, lime and orange zest. I decided to try the mexican snickerdoodles, since the blogging community seems to really like them. They are spicy! There's a 1/2 tsp of cayenne in the batter. It's an acquired taste. I didn't mind them, but some people didn't like the spice. These would also be good without the pepper. It's weird because they're still really sweet, then you taste the spice, and suddenly you want another bite!

Guacamole from Vegan Brunch

Very nice. Served simply with salsa and tortillas. I left out the raw red onion and cilantro, not a fan.

Ranch Dip with chips-internet recipe

A simple mayo/sour cream dip with garlic powder, onion powder, parsley and pepper. Also a crowd leftovers today :(
Gingerbread cupcakes with lemon buttercream from VCTOTW

I also made the basic chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream, which were a hit. As an aside, for our wedding this summer, we opted to serve cupcakes instead of sheetcake. I made all the cupcakes and used VCTOTW's chocolate recipe. People were fighting for seconds!
Billy requested the gingerbread cupcakes. The cupcake itself is not very sweet but the icing makes up for that. They're good but not my favourite flavour.
The rest is in this picture of the food table...

I put numbers on top of the items but it's hard to see:

1- a 6 layer nacho dip from Vegan Comfort Foods: refried beans, sour cream mixed with taco seasoning, guacamole, salsa, lettuce and green onions. This was a favourite too, it did not last long!

2- veggie platter with a vegan store bought white bean dip with grilled red peppers. It was ok, not everyone's favourite so I was quick to point out I didn't make it haha. Also, there were mini pitas served with it.
3- spinach dip, as above, in pumpernickel with bread served on the side

4- fruit platter with chocolate pudding dip

5- at the bottom, tsatziki sauce, made by a friend, apparently from V'con. Very good with pitas and pretzels!
6- guacamole served with salsa and tortilla chips
7- on the cupcake tower, chocolate cupcakes with buttercream. It's a mini cupcake tower so I couldn't load it up, and had to put the cupcakes out in batches
8- gingerbread cupcakes with lemon buttercream and crystallized ginger
9- citrus glitter cookies

NOT PICTURED- mexican chocolate snickerdoodles, the camera cut them off (top tier)
No emphasis was placed on this being good vegan's just good food!!!
And my drink of choice last night, from Vegan Brunch...

Pink grapefruit mimosas
Yum! Grapefruit juice, pink champagne, and agave.

Tonight's dinner is a store bought flatbread with storebough bruschetta, so I will not be cooking today :P
IS ANYONE ELSE HAVING PROBLEMS WITH UPLOADING PHOTOS? They all come in at the top and it takes forever to arrange them :(

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Heavy on the comfort foods

Lots of batteries were dead for a while so I have some catch up to do.

Cha Cha Chili-Skinny Bitch in the Kitch
I made this before heading out to my parent's camp for Valentine's weekend with the hubby. I was in a bit of a rush, so the beans were a little undercooked, but I simmered them some more once I got to camp. Chili=camp food. This is great with cheddar "cheese" and tortilla chips, or served on a baked potato. I couldn't get a good picture, but we all know what chili looks like. This one has rice, and I also added ground round at Billy's request.

Mac and cheeze, collard greens and oven fried spicy chicken-Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food
I had a southern themed meal last week. The oven fried spicy seitan chicken was way too dry, but the coating is still good. The collard greens were rubbery, which could be my fault. The real star of this meal was the mac and cheese. I admit, I had high expectations for mac and cheese out of a whole cookbook dedicated to comfort foods, so when I flipped to the recipe and saw that it did not use soymilk or cheese substitutes, but nuts, I was a little skeptical. But, wow, it's delicious. Billy ate all my leftovers...and if Billy likes it, it's good! I didn't get a picture, but the recipe is on the cover of the book. This recipe is worth buying the book to have it!
Spinach Cheeze tofu scramble and breakfast biscuits- Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food
For breakfast this morning, I had easy breakfast biscuits and the spinach cheeze scramble. The biscuits are great, and once again, Billy is eating all of them. The tofu scramble has tons of flavour, and has nooch added in at the end of cooking, which gives it a good texture.

Tuno casserole, green salad and 1000 island dressing- Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food
This tuno casserole was missing something. BUT, I will say that I was forced to use kelp flakes instead of dulse flakes, and its almost a sin to give a negative recipe review if you didn't follow the directions perfectly, so I'll have to give it another try. It has pasta, a white cheese sauce, peas, and chickpeas. I refried it today with a touch of ketchup (don't ask me why, I'm not usually a fan of it except with fries) and more salt and pepper, and it was much better. For a salad with 1000 island dressing. The dressing is amazing!! I cannot keep this one in the fridge or I'll be in trouble!

Pear crisp for two- Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food
And lastly the pear crisp for two. Simple and very good! I like that it's baked in two small ramekins for individual servings. It made it easy to omit pecans in Billy's but top mine with a few.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Yay for slowcookers!

Here is the wait-for-you stew from Vegan Comfort Food. It's made in the slow cooker, convenient! It's very basic: carrots, potatoes, celery, seitan, "beef" broth and some seasonings....but it's so good! True comfort food. I ruined the picture by putting crackers in, but it had a bit more broth than usual for a stew. I love recipes that use seitan where you just have to mix up the seitan and plop it in to cook with the rest of the ingredients. Mmmmmmm....

I bought a new belgian waffle maker with my PC points yesterday...I was tired of seeing yummy recipes that I couldn't make. Plus I'm getting Vegan Brunch soon, so I need to be ready!

To test it out, I made the banana walnut waffles from Veganomicon. These are good enough to eat on their own but I'm a maple freak! Although, you don't need as much as usual due to the sweetness of the bananas. Great way to use up ripe bananas too! I froze the leftovers for a quick breakfast during the work week.

Also, I remade the fettucine alfredo from Comfort Food, with regular unsweetened soy good!

I've got chik'n seitan simmering right now. Dinner is oven fried chicken, mac and cheese and collards.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Comfort Foods

We've been on a bit of a banana bread kick lately...I try to make different kinds of baked goods with bananas, but Billy still always asks for banana bread. And why not, it's one of the greatest foods of all time! I like to change up which recipe I use for variation though. This time, I used the recipe from How It All Vegan. This loaf is so moist and sweet, and the chocolate chips don't hurt either! It has dates in it, which really give a soft texture.
From my new cookbook, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (I know, I know, everyone else already has it :P), I made the carrot raisin spice cookies. Keeping Billy in mind, I left out the walnuts and coconut (picky!), and they still turned out wonderfully. These are delicious, with a great chewy and soft texture. The lemon glaze drizzled on top adds some extra pizzazz.

Omelettes were made for Sunday mornings. I made the spinach omelette from Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food...and it was very comforting! My first omelette didn't come out too nicely but it still tasted good! These were a little oily, but only because I eyeballed the oil for time I will reduce it. I still love the tofu omelette from Garden of Vegan, but this one has more of an eggy texture. Yum!

Also from Comfort Food, I made the wait-for-you slowcooker stew. That's for lunch today so I'll post it later!

Friday, February 05, 2010

New Cookbooks!

As much as I love my latest apartment, I have to say, it's really not the ideal lighting for food photography :(. Nevertheless, I won't let that keep me from blogging...I'm on a roll!

To keep my motivation for cooking up, I bought two new vegan cookbooks....every vegan's favourite thing in the world! Well, at least mine. I bought Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar...which I didn't even know existed until I saw it in the store...out of the loop or what?!?

Anyways, the recipes in Comfort Food sound delicious so I was eager to try them right away! For dinner yesterday, I made the alfredo sauce ( the book has two recipes for it) with linguine and the french onion soup. The creamer I used for the sauce was sweet which I didn't know, so the sauce was a bit off. Still ate it though, so it must be really good with non-sweetened creamer, or even soy milk. This was supposed to be topped with steamed broccoli, but I forgot to add that to my grocery list.

The french onion soup was more complicated than other recipes I've tried. That being said, it wasn't hard by any means, but required more cooking time and had more ingredients for the broth. This soup has caramelized onions, worcestershire sauce, red wine, vegetable stock, and thyme. And it's delicious! The extra time is worth it to get such a rich tasting broth. This soup is topped with a slice of toasted French baguette and mozzarella. Mmmmmmmmm....and Billy doesn't like onions, so I got it all to myself!

This morning, I made the Egg MacGuffins. The little egg patties are so cute! And they're very simple to make. My breakfast sandwich was on a whole wheat english muffin with the egg, tofutti cheese, and a slice of fake lunch meat, since sausage patties cannot be found around here anymore. I added a bit of vegenaise to give it some zip. These are great, and will become a part of my morning!

Also, here are the banana date scones from Veganomicon that I made...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Wanna see my weiner?

My husband and I got a puppy just before Christmas. A miniature dachshund (weiner dog) named Dill (as in the pickle). She is rambunctious and beautiful...and lots of work!

Billy and I made the hearty bean soup from 125 Best Vegan Recipes before the weekend. I brought some with me to camp, and it was the perfect meal after snowmobiling! Black beans, navy beans, celery, carrots, tomatoes...mmmm. Not the best picture, my new apartment just doensn't get the same great lighting for food pictures like my old place.

Today, I made the peas and basil risotto from Vegan Italiano, as well as the Tuscan beans and tomatoes. The risotto is so creamy! I love the fresh basil in it. The beans are also very good. The book tends to use can sizes that aren't available here, like 15 oz cans of beans or tomatoes, so I decided to up the amount of beans and tomatoes, but didn't bother to up the quantity of garlic and sage, so these could be more flavourful.

I also made the banana date scones from Veganomicon today but did not have time to take a picture, so I will try to post it later. I will say that they are very healthful, and a good breakfast bread. No refined sugar, just dates and brown rice syrup.